Left: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

The Greek Slave and
Photography in Britain

by Patrizia Di Bello

Left: Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

Top right: Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Bottom right: Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

This essay explores some of the photographs of Hiram Powers’s Greek Slave sculpture taken and/or circulated in Britain in the nineteenth century. The statue’s popularity at the time makes it an effective case study through which to evaluate the early successes and failures of photography as a means of reproducing works of sculpture in the years before photographs could be efficiently printed in books and magazines through halftone reprographic techniques. As a visual essay, this piece invites the reader to look at the photographs as such—to focus on their materiality as objects made from various combinations of silver, metal, paper, leather, and card. In discussing the particular qualities of photographs in the form of daguerreotypes, calotypes, and stereoscopic slides, we will also see how these techniques allow for an experience that cannot be fully conveyed by their later reproductions.

Note: Captions and footnotes become visible by hovering the cursor on the relevant image or footnote number, and they can also be found at the end of the essay.

Left: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

Daguerreotypes, Calotypes, and Statuettes: The Mechanical Reproduction of Sculpture in the 1840s

Benjamin Cheverton, “Reducing Machine,” 1826, patented 1844. © Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library, London.

The Greek Slave arrived on the London art scene in 1845, when it was exhibited to great acclaim at the premises of print-sellers and publishers Henry Graves and Co. This was a time of much interest and experimentation—practical, commercial, and aesthetic—in the mass production and reproduction of works of art, through methods that combined “the talent of the artist with the enterprise of manufactures.”[1] Vying for the attention of entrepreneurs, opinion-makers, and customers were several new ways of making perfect mechanical copies from works of art or directly from nature. The main competing methods were photography, electroplating, and instruments that could reproduce statues into statuettes, such as Cheverton’s “reducing machine.”

William Henry Fox Talbot, Bust of Patroclus, 1843, William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longmans, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844–46): plate V. Salted paper print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: public domain via Wikimedia Commons, [link].

This is a photograph of a cast by Brucciani, in Talbot’s own collection, of a Hellenistic marble now in the British Museum. See Susan L. Taylor, “Fox Talbot as an Artist: The ‘Patroclus’ series,” Bulletin [University of Michigan Museums of Art and Archaeology] 8 (1986–88): 38, [link].

Photography seemed especially promising. As David Brewster wrote in 1844, in one of the first critical reflections on the new medium:

Very extraordinary inventions and discoveries have already given an impulse, and will soon give a new form to the imitative arts. The art of multiplying statues by machinery . . . might have been regarded as a vast step in the fine arts; had it not been eclipsed by the splendid process of copying all sorts of sculpture, by the voltaic deposition of metals from their solutions. But even this has been surpassed by the art of Photography, by which we obtain perfect representations of all objects . . . through the agency of the light which they emit or reflect. . . . The art of Photography, or Photogeny as it has been called, is indeed as great a step in the fine arts, as the steam-engine was in the mechanical arts; and we have no doubt that when its materials have become more sensitive, and its processes more certain, it will take the highest rank amongst the inventions of the present age.[2]

Left: Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Right: A faded version of William Henry Fox Talbot, Bust of Patroclus, 1843, William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longmans, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844–46): plate V. Salted paper print. Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Media Museum, Bradford, [link].

We can now take it for granted that Brewster was right—photography was the medium to usher in the age of “technological reproducibility” and transform unique works of art into originals that give value and authority to mechanical reproductions.[3] In the 1840s, however, this was not so certain. Daguerreotypes, the more commercially successful of the two photographic systems patented in 1839, fixed the camera image on a metal plate coated with a thin layer of silver iodide, which was turned into a positive by exposing the plate to fumes of heated mercury. It produced an image of remarkable sharpness and detail that was, however, a fragile one-off, visible only under the right lighting conditions. The alternative system, the talbotype or calotype, used paper coated in successive layers of silver compounds to create a negative from which many positives could be printed by exposing additional sheets of sensitized paper through the paper negative. Talbot’s system required lengthy exposures, lacked sharpness due to the interference of the paper fibers, and tended to fade. Further hampered by patenting controversies, it failed to establish itself commercially.

Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Daguerreotypes are assemblages of metal and glass encased in a tray and typically bound in a leather or thermoplastic box with a hinged, plush-lined lid. With their shiny surfaces and expensive-looking casing, they seem the uncanny ancestors of the handheld digital gadgets we now use to carry photographs about. Mechanically produced yet each a one-off, at once a negative and a positive, the daguerreotype image is but a dusting of mercury and oxidized silver, easily wiped off its metal plate. Its visibility itself feels precarious. To make a daguerreotype image visible, the viewer has to tilt the case in his or her hands this way and that, or swivel the head around if the daguerreotype is hanging on a wall. As this happens, the image alternately appears, suddenly full of details, and then turns into a ghostly negative, almost disappearing again as the mirror-polished silver background reflects the viewer’s face. In a daguerreotype, Powers’s Greek Slave plays a photographic game of hide-and-seek with the viewer, impossible to convey in a static reproduction.

John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Bt, ca. 1848. Daguerreotype. National Portrait Gallery, London, [link].

The first documented daguerreotype of The Greek Slave, titled “No. 129. ‘The Greek Slave’ by Power [sic], the celebrated American sculptor,” has not survived. It was taken by John Mayall, working under the pseudonym of Professor Highschool, who listed it in the catalogue of the 1847 exhibition at his London Gallery of the Daguerreotype Institution.[4] Portraiture was the main business of daguerreotype studios, but reproductions of works of art, exhibited in the ground-floor rooms where patrons waited for their portraits, advertised the accuracy and good taste of the photographer. Mayall, who had worked as a photographer in Philadelphia since 1843, had only just come back to London and was exploiting the good reputation of American daguerreotypes.[5] It made sense to showcase the work of another artist from the New World who had already attracted attention in London, and to advertise the new medium of photography via the older medium of sculpture.

Unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

The Greek Slave’s success at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London increased the production and sale of its reproductions. As the Morning Chronicle remarked just before the exhibition closed, “There are, perhaps, few statues which have enjoyed a greater popularity than ‘The Greek Slave.’ Casts of it in a variety of materials are hawked about the streets; every Italian boy carries it on his board; and it was but the other day that we recognized it in a sweetmeat shop in Tottenham Court-road, nicely executed in a species of barley-sugar—a substance which not inelegantly rendered, in a glowing flesh colour, its sentimental graces.”[6]

Left: Unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

Right: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, [link].

Daguerreotypes could not be engraved directly. They had to be turned into line drawings first. This, however, was still faster and required less skill than drawing from the statue itself. The process also corrected the horizontal inversion of daguerreotypes.

As the exhibition boosted the market for reproductions of The Greek Slave, it also highlighted the shortcomings of daguerreotypes and calotypes as ways to reproduce it. Mayall’s two daguerreotypes of The Greek Slave (front and back) had to be turned into engravings to be circulated cheaply and in quantity, as they were in Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851. The publication’s subtitle emphasized that it was illustrated by “Beautiful Steel Engravings from . . . Daguerreotypes by Beard, Mayall &c.” In this publication, photography was not just a method to facilitate the preparation of the engravings but also a feature that could be advertised to give the whole publication an aura of accuracy. This, in turn, showcased the names of Beard and Mayall, two of the most prominent daguerreotype studios of the time.[7]

Hugh Owen, “Greek Slave. Marble. Powers.,” 1851, Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries, ed. Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 (London: Spicer Brothers, 1852), vol. 4: unpaginated plate, facing page 1585. Salted paper print from paper negative. © Senate House Library, London. The photographs for this edition were taken by Hugh Owen and Claude-Marie Ferrier.

In contrast to the one-off nature of daguerreotypes, the talbotype’s paper negatives could generate a potentially infinite number of positive salted paper prints, which were sometimes tipped into illustrated books, a process that involves gluing the prints by hand onto pages often preprinted with the image’s caption, then binding them between the pages of separately produced letterpress text. Making salted paper prints in large quantities was a slower and costlier process than engraving, and therefore suitable only for limited luxury editions, such as the four volumes of the photographically illustrated edition of Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries, a prestigious gift destined for Queen Victoria and other dignitaries who had contributed to the success of the Great Exhibition.

Left: Hugh Owen, “Greek Slave. Marble. Powers.,” 1851, Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries, ed. Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 (London: Spicer Brothers, 1852), vol. 4: unpaginated plate, facing page 1585. Salted paper print from paper negative. © Senate House Library, London. The salted paper print in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, might be a page from this publication, although sometimes extra plates were made for sale as individual prints.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

This is how Hugh Owen’s famous photograph of The Greek Slave was originally circulated, facing the page discussing Powers’s statue. This, and the other 154 photographs tipped in throughout the four volumes, animate and illustrate the otherwise fairly dry text, endowing Reports by the Juries with a desirable visual appeal and a distinctly modern edge. Yet, the photographers are not mentioned anywhere in the publication, nor is the fact that the illustrations are photographs rather than engravings.[8] At a time when making photographically illustrated books was still an experiment, crediting the photographers was not a matter of course.[9]

Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

Many photos have been taken of this statue over the years, but Owen’s is still one of the most evocative. One notable characteristic is that he waxed the negative, a process that lessened the visibility of the paper fibres in the positive and thereby maximized its sharpness. The velvety texture of the print, a result of the silver halide crystals soaking into the paper as if they were pigments (rather than sitting as a shiny emulsion on its surface), softens the marble and warms its tones.

Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

The lighting from top left keeps the face in shadow, as if the figure were turning away, almost blushing, from the spotlight of the viewer’s attention. The light, turned by photography into denser or sparser clumps of dark-brown silver molecules, echoes the statue’s narrative of a young Greek maiden holding on to her dignified, pensive modesty as she is being sold into slavery by her Turkish captors. One of the sharpest passages of the print highlights her right hand, attracting the viewer’s gaze to the crucial details of the statue’s narrative—the manacle, cross, and locket.

Left: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

Middle: Detail of unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

Right: Statuette manufactured by Minton and Co., after Hiram Powers, The Greek Slave, 1849. Parian ware. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

In the early 1850s, the circulation of photographs of The Greek Slave was becoming more popular, but it was still outstripped by that of statuettes, which were more reproducible, widely available, and could be displayed in bright light without fading. Photography did, however, succeed in making mechanical accuracy a desirable feature of new reproductions of statues. In the 1840s, the term “art manufactures” was used to advertise statuettes, and in particular their suitability as gifts.[10] The development of new, more durable statuary porcelains added to the appeal of the medium. By the early 1850s, manufacturers such as Copeland, the main rival of Minton and Co., started to emphasize the mechanical accuracy with which their statuettes had been produced.

Left: Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of unknown maker, Greek Slave, after 1952. Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative. Collection of the author. After comparing it with contemporary photographs, I suggest this might be one of Copeland’s statuettes announced in the Literary Gazette.

According to one article from 1852:

Those of our readers who are acquainted with the attractive display of objects at the rooms of Messr. Copeland, . . . will find a new and highly interesting feature in a cast of the famous Greek Slave, which is now open to inspection at their establishment. . . . The moulds from which the present figure is taken were constructed by Signor Brucciani, upon the marble statue which was exhibited at the Crystal Palace . . . . From these moulds about twenty casts will be made, and the copy will then be reduced by means of Mr. Cheverton’s instrument, in order to form the original for a series of statuettes.[11]

One of the reasons the market embraced mechanical reproductions, including photographs and statuettes, was that they seemed to be unsullied by hands that would interfere with the touch of the artist who had made the original object. This touch, the trace of the hand of the artist, was at the time becoming valorized as the actual impress of genius on the work.[12] Photographers, cast-makers, and those who operated reducing machines were not considered to be fine artists but mechanical workers. Their right to be named on the copy, as was Brucciani in the example here, depended on the preference of the business producing the copies. In any case, the whole point of their work, and the very measure of its skill, was to be invisible.

Left: Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers, late nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, [link]

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

Collodion Plates and Stereoscopic Prints

Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers, late nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, [link]

It was in this vein that photography began to fulfill its promise as an engine of the fine arts, particularly after 1851, when collodion plates, developed by the sculptor Frederick Scott Archer, became available. Printed on glossy albumen paper, another recent innovation, these “wet plates” (so called because they had to be exposed and developed while still moist) made previous photographic systems obsolete, as they combined the detailed quality of daguerreotypes with the reproducibility of paper negatives. Archer’s decision not to patent the system facilitated its widespread adoption. Photography studios thrived, with some, such as the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company, growing into multinational businesses. Stereoscopy was the first photographic “craze.”[13]

Top: Unknown maker, Untitled (“252. The Belvedere Apollo. From the Vatican,” as visible on the plinth), mid-nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: Giorgio Sommer, “No. 815. Apolino. Firenze,” second half of the nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

The technique of stereoscopy further amplified photography’s ability to reproduce sculpture. As explained in 1851 by Brewster, who had adapted earlier forms of stereoscopes for photography:

The art [of stereoscopy] cannot fail to be regarded as of inestimable value to the sculptor . . . . Superficial forms will stand before him in three dimensions, and while he summons into view the living realities from which they were taken, he may avail himself of the labours of all his predecessors, of Pericles as well as of Canova; and he may virtually carry in his portfolio the mighty lions and bulls of Nineveh, —the gigantic sphinxes of Egypt, —the Apollos and Venuses of Grecian art, —and all the statuary and sculpture which adorn the galleries and museums of civilised nations.[14]

Top: Unknown maker, “Choice Gems: Statuary (The Greek Slave),” mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: Unknown maker, “Choice Gems: Statuary (The Three Graces),” mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the designer of the American stereoscope, was equally concerned with defining stereoscopy as a form of “sun sculpture”—the three-dimensional counterpart to ordinary photography, which was sometimes referred to as “sun painting.”[15] As he described it, “A stereoscope is an instrument which makes surfaces look solid. . . . That effect is so heightened as to produce an appearance of reality which cheats the senses with its seeming truth.”[16]

In the same essay, he explained the tactile dimension of the visual perception of three-dimensionality: “By means of these two different views of an object, the mind, as it were, feels round it and gets an idea of its solidity. We clasp our object with our eyes, as with our hands, or with our thumb and finger, and then we know it to be something more than a surface.”[17]

He goes on to explain how this is mobilized by stereoscopy, saying, “The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise . . . . The mind feels its way into the very depth of the picture.”[18]

He goes on to conclude: “Form is henceforth divorced from matter. . . . In fact, matter as a visible object is of no great use any longer, except as the mould on which form is shaped. . . . Matter in large masses must always be fixed and dear; form is cheap and transportable.”[19]

Left: Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

The Greek Slave and Stereoscopy
at the 1862 International
Exhibition, London

Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

The Greek Slave was still attracting attention at the 1862 International Exhibition in London, even though the original statue was not included. It featured, however, as a statuette in the sections dedicated to Parian ware, and was used as a cast to decorate the display of trophies won by the United States, which was photographed by the London Stereoscopic Company as part of its record of the exhibition.

Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 60—Venus by Canova, from the original Statue,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 93—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Like the statues they reproduce, these stereographs of the casts of Canova’s Venus and Powers’s Greek Slave were not in the exhibition, but they attracted as much attention as the exhibits themselves and were widely advertised and available for sale.[20]

Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 8—Venus. By Gibson,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 62—Zenobia Captive, by Miss Hosmer,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

This was the first exhibition to be comprehensively photographed, and not just for documentation but for commercial enterprise—a forerunner of the practice of selling catalogues and other photographic reproductions to help financially support the corresponding exhibition. As Art Journal explained in 1862 in an article dedicated to the “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” the London Stereoscopic Company had been the highest bidder for the exclusive rights to take photographs of the exhibits and then sell them to the public. As a result, the exhibition was “fully, as well as faithfully, represented in these wonderful pictures, which reproduce the originals ten thousand times.” The article went on to note the “peculiarly vivid impressiveness” of the stereoscopic photographs of sculpture, asserting that “it is impossible to estimate too highly the importance of such works as these photographs as agents for refining and elevating the public taste.”[21]

Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 61—The Sleep of Sorrow the Dream of Joy, by R. Monti.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 63—The Reading Girl. P. Magni, Sculp.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

The article continues, highlighting the advantages of photography over older methods of reproduction:

Hitherto, sculpture has suffered from the difficulty of rendering it by means of engraving, and from the impossibility of combining first-rate representation with trifling cost. Now, instead of being almost the exclusive inheritance of a privileged few, sculpture has been photographed into a popularity which must inaugurate a new era in the sculptor’s art. . . . The photographs of the Stereoscopic Company form a complete gallery of modern sculpture, having this rare recommendation, that it may be possessed as well as seen.[22]

London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 321. —Eve at the Fountain, by E. H. Bailey, R.A.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Given the continuing popularity of Powers’s Greek Slave, it is an interesting sidenote that his two sculptures that did appear in the 1862 International Exhibition—Proserpine and California—were not photographed by the Stereoscopic Company. Art Journal noted that “the collections comprehend almost every important and interesting work that was present in the Exhibition, the exception being, in most cases, the result of some restrictions placed by either the sculptors or the proprietors of certain works upon the operations of the photographers.”[23] Along these lines, it is possible to speculate that Powers refused permission to photograph Proserpine and California to avoid creating competition for his son Longworth, who was by then working as a photographer, including of his father’s work.[24]

Top: Charles Bierstadt, “1032 – Hiram Powers, Greek Slave,” after 1897. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: Unknown maker, “The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers,” late 19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, [link].

There are many stereoscopic photographs of Powers’s Greek Slave still to be found in public and private collections, and their existence is some measure of how common they were in the nineteenth century and beyond. Stereoscopy allowed anyone to become a serial collector, if not of actual sculpture then of these “sun-sculptures,” which seemed, as reproductions, more three-dimensional than ordinary photographs and more direct than engravings or statuettes. Even the smallest interior could house a virtual sculpture gallery, which moreover gave the viewer the illusion of coming closer to the statues than viewing conditions would normally engender, whether in a private or public space.

Detail of unknown maker, “The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers,” late 19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, [link].

A description of the stereoscopic experience can help us understand their appeal. The first thing one might notice is that looking at stereographs through a stereoscopic viewer is a slower, more cumbersome process than that of looking at photographs in a book or album. The slide has to be picked up and inserted in the stereoscope, then the apparatus and the viewer’s eyesight have to be adjusted before the stereo effect works. Once this happens, however, all framing context disappears, facilitating the suspension of disbelief required for the viewer to feel that he or she is experiencing an encounter with the statue by Powers.

The visual sensation of looking at stereographs through the viewer is also peculiar. The observer’s vision is more than physically isolated from the surrounding space by the frame of the stereoscope. As Holmes suggested and experience confirms, the eyes feel as if they are moving in the space of the photograph. The details in the image, no longer miniaturized, reward leisurely perusal and facilitate complete absorption.

Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

The limitations of the stereoscopic photograph as a sculpture—its single fixed view and limited three-dimensionality—are compensated by other visual plenitudes, as each stereo embodies the condition of both sculpture and photography as media of multiple iterations. In a way, the stereograph is a triptych of slightly different images: two on the card, one in the stereoscope.

(More on how stereoscopic images work.)

The two images on the stereograph correspond to how the left eye and the right eye see the same image from slightly different viewpoints. This is not normally noticed, as the brain overlaps the two perspectives while processing vision. Looking through the stereoscope, the two images must slide toward each other until they overlap and “pop” into 3-D view, the eyes and brain working to interpret the two flat images as a single three-dimensional image.

start
show

Unknown maker, Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Perhaps surprisingly, stereoscopic photographs of statuettes seem to have been as popular as those of the full-sized versions. This stereograph, simply titled “Greek Slave” on the back, is clearly of a statuette, its scale made obvious by the pattern and folds in the fabric background. The photographer could have chosen a plain background and arranged its draping to avoid indicating so emphatically the size of the statuette compared to the fabric. This was clearly not an attempt at passing off the statuette for a full-scale statue.

Because binocular disparity, on which the stereoscopic effect is based, is greater when we look at nearby, small objects, a stereo of a statuette, as seen through the viewer, creates a stronger three-dimensional effect than that of looking at a stereo of a larger statue. Stereoscopy emphasizes the distance between planes, so the figure’s chained hands seem to be closer to the observer than they are in the statuette, or than they appear to be in the flat photograph. To feel that close to a statuette, a viewer would have to be so near it as to lose vision of the whole object, something that does not happen when looking through the stereoscope. The invisibility to the camera of the space between the planes parallel to it—here, between the chain and the pelvis—creates a vagueness or gap in the 3-D effect, giving the impression that there is a bigger empty space between the figure’s hand and her body than there is in the actual object. As a result, when looking through the stereoscope it is easier to fantasize slipping one’s fingers behind the chain and pulling the young woman toward the viewer, perhaps to freedom.

Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

And yet, the illusion of mastery that might be generated by the miniaturization of the sculpture in the photograph, and emphasized by the naked woman in chains, is undermined. As we look through the stereoscope, we become at once large, looming outside the stereoscope, even as we are small inside it, our eyes sharing with the sculpture a space that has been collaboratively created by our visual/perceptual apparatus (our eyes and brain), by the stereoscope, and by the foreground object pictured in the stereograph. We become “like the actress behind the curtain peeping at an expectant audience—observing seeing [sic] while at the same time being complicit in making the seen.”[25] This interplay between physical and conceptual processes is more profoundly interactive than handling actual statues or statuettes would be. In the stereoscope, we make the work in the process of seeing it, mingling our perceptual labor with the valorized work by the artist, and ignoring the less valuable labor of workers in the photography and sculpture businesses. The tactile fantasies engendered by this experience are arguably richer and more evocative than touching actual statues, as the figure’s body and space in the stereograph and one’s own body and space in the real world enfold into each other, creating a one-to-one encounter in which the distances between original and reproduction are no longer meaningful.

Left: Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, [link].

In conclusion, if in the 1840s popular works such as Powers’s Greek Slave had been used to advertise and legitimize photography, as Mayall had done, in the 1860s the success of stereoscopy demonstrated the effectiveness of photography to disseminate sculpture, as predicted by Brewster in 1844. It also seems to have established a habitus of looking through photographs of sculpture that survived the waning of the popularity of stereoscopy. In this analysis of early photographs of The Greek Slave, we can see a tension between how sculpture was used to attract attention to photography and how photography succeeded precisely by making itself invisible. What held the two in balance was the desirability of owning works of art, even as copies, as long as the reproduction process did not interfere with the impress of genius left by the touch of the artist.

Digital Humanities Project Narrative

Writing for an online journal allowed us (the editors, the journal’s design and web development team, and myself) to develop an image-led essay, something that would have been prohibitively expensive and time-consuming in a paper journal. This might seem an underwhelming claim for the impact of digital formats on my contribution to this special issue, but it is not. Although academic journals—even those specializing in photography—sometimes publish photo essays, the high cost of printing means that journals often favor contemporary photographers, in the hope that new work by a named artist will increase circulation. Even then, the print quality tends to be poor. Digital editions are often the best publishing options for photographs. For Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide’s special issue on The Greek Slave, knowing that printing costs would not be a barrier played a major part in my willingness to experiment with an image-led format.

For my part, I could not have accepted the challenge to compose a visual essay of photographs of The Greek Slave had I not been able to use digital images and presentation technologies to conceive it visually as well as verbally. Yes, I could have done this as I once made “fanzines” (small-circulation alternative magazines on music and/or politics), with a typewriter, felt pens, and a photocopier, but it would have sorely lacked visual gravitas, or it would have required further stages of production—design, typesetting, reprographics—that would have made it too costly.

An exciting aspect of the use of digital formats in making this essay has been the use of animated GIFs to convey the experience of looking through a stereoscope, something that could not be achieved on a plain printed page (although it is interesting to note that some nineteenth-century publications included a cheap stereoscope in every copy). The animations included in my digital essay convey the dynamic and interactive nature of looking at stereoscopic photographs, even if they cannot replicate the stillness of stereoscopic space once the 3-D effect has taken place, or the way this invites the gaze to linger on the details of the objects reproduced within it. Hopefully this digital approximation will increase the reader’s curiosity to try the real thing.

Most importantly, however, the fact that this was a digital journal made me want to participate. As both a teacher and a writer, I know very well that articles available for free on the web are read by many more people than are those locked behind restricted access, and vastly more so than those available only on paper. A link to “The Greek Slave and Photography in Britain” will definitely go on my staff page on the departmental website!



1. “Art Manufactures,” London Times, January 24, 1848, 7.

2. David Brewster, “Photogenic Drawing, or Drawing by the Agency of Light,” Edinburgh Review (January 1843): 312.

3. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” (second version, mid-1930s), in The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008).

4. John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Catalogue of Daguerreotype Panoramas, Falls of Niagara, . . . Photographic Pictures, Portraits of Eminent Persons, &c., in the Gallery of the Daguerreotype Institution, London, April 1847–48, in Database of Photographic Exhibitions in Britain 1839–1865, ed. Roger Taylor (Leicester, UK: De Montfort University), http://peib.dmu.ac.uk.

5. John Plunkett, “Mayall, John Jabez Edwin,” in Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography, ed. John Hannavy (New York: Routledge, 2008), 907–08.

6. “The Great Exhibition,” Morning Chronicle, October 10, 1851, 3.

7. Beard himself was not a photographer but an entrepreneur who owned the patent for daguerreotypes in England. Steve Edwards, “‘Beard Patentee’: Daguerreotypes, Property and Authorship,” Oxford Art Journal 36, no. 6 (2013): 369–94, doi:10.1093/oxartj/kct030.

8. An inscription on the front flyleaf to volume 4 in a copy held at the Senate House Library at the University of London reads: “Presented by her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of MDCCCLI to Thomas Baring Esquire.”

9. Nancy B. Keeler, “Illustrating the ‘Reports by the Juries’ of the Great Exhibition of 1851,” History of Photography 6, no. 3 (1982): 257–72, doi:10.1080/03087298.1982.10443047.

10. See for example the advertisement for “Felix Summerly’s Art-Manufactures,” touted as “Presents for Weddings, Birthdays, and All Festivals,” ad in [London] Railway Chronicle, November 25, 1848, in The Railway Chronicle: Joint-Stock Companies Journal (London: James Holmes, 1848), 832, https://books.google.com/books?id=pJRMAQAAIAAJ.

11. “Fine Arts,” Literary Gazette, April 10, 1852, 314.

12. On the history of the value of the visible touch of the artist, see Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Sheena Wagstaff, eds., Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016).

13. Thad Logan discusses stereoscopes and statuettes in The Victorian Parlour (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 105–201. See also William Merrin, “Skylights onto Infinity: The World in a Stereoscope,” in Visual Delights Two: Exhibition and Reception, ed. Vanessa Toulmin and Simon Popple (Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey, 2005), 161–74.

14. David Brewster, “Account of a Binocular Camera, and of a Method of Obtaining Drawings of Full Length and Colossal Statues, and of Living Bodies, which Can Be Exhibited as Solids by the Stereoscope,” Transactions of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts 3 (1851): 264.

15. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Sun-Painting and Sun-Sculpture: With a Stereoscopic Trip across the Atlantic,” 1861, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 166–227.

16. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph,” 1859, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 140.

17. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 142.

18. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 148.

19. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 161–62.

20. See also Patrizia Di Bello, “‘Multiplying Statues by Machinery’: Stereoscopic Photographs of Sculptures at the 1862 International Exhibition,” History of Photography 37, no. 4 (2013): 412–20, doi:10.1080/03087298.2013.780750.

21. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

22. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

23. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

24. “The Artists in Florence,” Art Journal (May 1871): 133.

25. Rod Bantjes, “Reading Stereoviews: The Aesthetics of Monstrous Space,” History of Photography 39, no. 1 (2015): 40–41, doi:10.1080/03087298.2015.1004259.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Slide 1
Left: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 2
Left: Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Top right: Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Bottom right: Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 3
Left: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 4
Benjamin Cheverton, “Reducing Machine,” 1826, patented 1844. © Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library, London.

Slide 5
William Henry Fox Talbot, Bust of Patroclus, 1843, William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longmans, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844–46): plate V. Salted paper print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: public domain via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org.

This is a photograph of a cast by Brucciani, in Talbot’s own collection, of a Hellenistic marble now in the British Museum. See Susan L. Taylor, “Fox Talbot as an Artist: The ‘Patroclus’ series,” Bulletin [University of Michigan Museums of Art and Archaeology] 8 (1986–88): 38, http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.0054307.0008.001:04.

Slide 6
Left: Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Right: A faded version of William Henry Fox Talbot, Bust of Patroclus, 1843, William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longmans, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844–46): plate V. Salted paper print. Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Media Museum, Bradford, http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk.

Slide 7
Attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Slide 8
John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Bt, ca. 1848. Daguerreotype. National Portrait Gallery, London, http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw09661.

Slide 9
Unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

Slide 10
Left: Unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

Right: Detail of attributed to Southworth & Hawes, “The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers,” 1848. Daguerreotype. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/49683.

Daguerreotypes could not be engraved directly. They had to be turned into line drawings first. This, however, was still faster and required less skill than drawing from the statue itself. The process also corrected the horizontal inversion of daguerreotypes.

Slide 11
Hugh Owen, “Greek Slave. Marble. Powers.,” 1851, Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries, ed. Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 (London: Spicer Brothers, 1852), vol. 4: unpaginated plate, facing page 1585. Salted paper print from paper negative. © Senate House Library, London. The photographs for this edition were taken by Hugh Owen and Claude-Marie Ferrier.

Slide 12
Left: Hugh Owen, “Greek Slave. Marble. Powers.,” 1851, Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries, ed. Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 (London: Spicer Brothers, 1852), vol. 4: unpaginated plate, facing page 1585. Salted paper print from paper negative. © Senate House Library, London. The salted paper print in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, might be a page from this publication, although sometimes extra plates were made for sale as individual prints.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 13
Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 14
Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 15
Left: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Center: Detail of unknown maker, “Hiram Powers, Sculptor[;] The Greek Slave[;] Daguerreotyped by Mayall,” 1851, Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace, and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851 (London: John Tallis & Co., 1852): n.p. (tipped-in plate). Steel engraving from a drawing from a daguerreotype. © The British Library Board, London, 7955.e.11.

Right: Statuette manufactured by Minton and Co., after Hiram Powers, The Greek Slave, 1849. Parian ware. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/4140.

Slide 16
Left: Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of unknown maker, Greek Slave, after 1952. Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative. Collection of the author. After comparing it with contemporary photographs, I suggest this might be one of Copeland’s statuettes announced in the Literary Gazette.

Slide 17
Left: Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers, late nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O201494.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 18
Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers, late nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O201494.

Slide 19
Top: Unknown maker, Untitled (“252. The Belvedere Apollo. From the Vatican,” as visible on the plinth), mid-nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: Giorgio Sommer, “No. 815. Apolino. Firenze,” second half of the nineteenth century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 20
Unknown maker, “Choice Gems: Statuary (The Greek Slave),” mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Unknown maker, “Choice Gems: Statuary (The Three Graces),” mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 21
Left: Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

Slide 22
Detail from London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 93.—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 23
Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 60—Venus by Canova, from the original Statue,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 93—State Ceremonial Trophy. (United States.),” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 24
Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 8—Venus. By Gibson,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862. No. 62—Zenobia Captive, by Miss Hosmer,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 25
Top: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 61—The Sleep of Sorrow the Dream of Joy, by R. Monti.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 63—The Reading Girl. P. Magni, Sculp.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 26
London Stereoscopic Co., “The International Exhibition of 1862, No. 321—Eve at the Fountain, by E. H. Bailey, R.A.,” 1862. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 27
Top: Charles Bierstadt, “1032 – Hiram Powers, Greek Slave,” after 1897. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Bottom: Unknown maker, “The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers,” late 19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O201494.

Slide 28
Detail of unknown maker, “The Greek Slave Sculpted by Hiram Powers,” late 19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O201494.

Slide 29
Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 30
Unknown maker, Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 31
Unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Slide 32
Left: Detail of unknown maker, The Greek Slave (printed on the back of the card), mid-19th century. Stereoscopic photograph (two albumen prints from wet collodion on glass negatives, glued on card). Collection of the author.

Right: Detail of Hugh Owen, Greek Slave, 1851. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/263305.

return to slide

1. “Art Manufactures,” London Times, January 24, 1848, 7.

2. David Brewster, “Photogenic Drawing, or Drawing by the Agency of Light,” Edinburgh Review (January 1843): 312.

3. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” (second version, mid-1930s), in The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008).

4. John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Catalogue of Daguerreotype Panoramas, Falls of Niagara, . . . Photographic Pictures, Portraits of Eminent Persons, &c., in the Gallery of the Daguerreotype Institution, London, April 1847–48, in Database of Photographic Exhibitions in Britain 1839–1865, ed. Roger Taylor (Leicester, UK: De Montfort University), http://peib.dmu.ac.uk.

5. John Plunkett, “Mayall, John Jabez Edwin,” in Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography, ed. John Hannavy (New York: Routledge, 2008), 907–08.

6. “The Great Exhibition,” Morning Chronicle, October 10, 1851, 3.

7. Beard himself was not a photographer but an entrepreneur who owned the patent for daguerreotypes in England. Steve Edwards, “‘Beard Patentee’: Daguerreotypes, Property and Authorship,” Oxford Art Journal 36, no. 6 (2013): 369–94, doi:10.1093/oxartj/kct030.

8. An inscription on the front flyleaf to volume 4 in a copy held at the Senate House Library at the University of London reads: “Presented by her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of MDCCCLI to Thomas Baring Esquire.”

return to slide

9. Nancy B. Keeler, “Illustrating the ‘Reports by the Juries’ of the Great Exhibition of 1851,” History of Photography 6, no. 3 (1982): 257–72, doi:10.1080/03087298.1982.10443047.

10. See for example the advertisement for “Felix Summerly’s Art-Manufactures,” touted as “Presents for Weddings, Birthdays, and All Festivals,” ad in [London] Railway Chronicle, November 25, 1848, in The Railway Chronicle: Joint-Stock Companies Journal (London: James Holmes, 1848), 832, https://books.google.com/books?id=pJRMAQAAIAAJ.

11. “Fine Arts,” Literary Gazette, April 10, 1852, 314.

12. On the history of the value of the visible touch of the artist, see Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Sheena Wagstaff, eds., Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016).

13. Thad Logan discusses stereoscopes and statuettes in The Victorian Parlour (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 105–201. See also William Merrin, “Skylights onto Infinity: The World in a Stereoscope,” in Visual Delights Two: Exhibition and Reception, ed. Vanessa Toulmin and Simon Popple (Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey, 2005), 161–74.

14. David Brewster, “Account of a Binocular Camera, and of a Method of Obtaining Drawings of Full Length and Colossal Statues, and of Living Bodies, which Can Be Exhibited as Solids by the Stereoscope,” Transactions of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts 3 (1851): 264.

return to slide

15. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Sun-Painting and Sun-Sculpture: With a Stereoscopic Trip across the Atlantic,” 1861, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 166–227.

16. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph,” 1859, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 140.

17. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 142.

18. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 148.

19. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 161–62.

20. See also Patrizia Di Bello, “‘Multiplying Statues by Machinery’: Stereoscopic Photographs of Sculptures at the 1862 International Exhibition,” History of Photography 37, no. 4 (2013): 412–20, doi:10.1080/03087298.2013.780750.

21. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

22. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

23. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

24. “The Artists in Florence,” Art Journal (May 1871): 133.

25. Rod Bantjes, “Reading Stereoviews: The Aesthetics of Monstrous Space,” History of Photography 39, no. 1 (2015): 40–41, doi:10.1080/03087298.2015.1004259.

  • 1/43

  1. 1. “Art Manufactures,” London Times, January 24, 1848, 7.

  2. 2. David Brewster, “Photogenic Drawing, or Drawing by the Agency of Light,” Edinburgh Review (January 1843): 312.

  3. 3. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” (second version, mid-1930s), in The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008).

  4. 4. John Jabez Edwin Mayall, Catalogue of Daguerreotype Panoramas, Falls of Niagara, . . . Photographic Pictures, Portraits of Eminent Persons, &c., in the Gallery of the Daguerreotype Institution, London, April 1847–48, in Database of Photographic Exhibitions in Britain 1839–1865, ed. Roger Taylor (Leicester, UK: De Montfort University), http://peib.dmu.ac.uk.

  5. 5. John Plunkett, “Mayall, John Jabez Edwin,” in Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography, ed. John Hannavy (New York: Routledge, 2008), 907–08.

  6. 6. “The Great Exhibition,” Morning Chronicle, October 10, 1851, 3.

  7. 7. Beard himself was not a photographer but an entrepreneur who owned the patent for daguerreotypes in England. Steve Edwards, “‘Beard Patentee’: Daguerreotypes, Property and Authorship,” Oxford Art Journal 36, no. 6 (2013): 369–94, doi:10.1093/oxartj/kct030.

  8. 8. An inscription on the front flyleaf to volume 4 in a copy held at the Senate House Library at the University of London reads: “Presented by her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of MDCCCLI to Thomas Baring Esquire.”

  9. 9. Nancy B. Keeler, “Illustrating the ‘Reports by the Juries’ of the Great Exhibition of 1851,” History of Photography 6, no. 3 (1982): 257–72, doi:10.1080/03087298.1982.10443047.

  10. 10. See for example the advertisement for “Felix Summerly’s Art-Manufactures,” touted as “Presents for Weddings, Birthdays, and All Festivals,” ad in [London] Railway Chronicle, November 25, 1848, in The Railway Chronicle: Joint-Stock Companies Journal (London: James Holmes, 1848), 832, https://books.google.com/books?id=pJRMAQAAIAAJ.

  11. 11. “Fine Arts,” Literary Gazette, April 10, 1852, 314.

  12. 12. On the history of the value of the visible touch of the artist, see Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Sheena Wagstaff, eds., Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016).

  13. 13. Thad Logan discusses stereoscopes and statuettes in The Victorian Parlour (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 105–201. See also William Merrin, “Skylights onto Infinity: The World in a Stereoscope,” in Visual Delights Two: Exhibition and Reception, ed. Vanessa Toulmin and Simon Popple (Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey, 2005), 161–74.

  14. 14. David Brewster, “Account of a Binocular Camera, and of a Method of Obtaining Drawings of Full Length and Colossal Statues, and of Living Bodies, which Can Be Exhibited as Solids by the Stereoscope,” Transactions of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts 3 (1851): 264.

  15. 15. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Sun-Painting and Sun-Sculpture: With a Stereoscopic Trip across the Atlantic,” 1861, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 166–227.

  16. 16. Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph,” 1859, reprinted in Soundings from the Atlantic (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 140.

  17. 17. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 142.

  18. 18. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 148.

  19. 19. Holmes, “The Stereoscope,” 161–62.

  20. 20. See also Patrizia Di Bello, “‘Multiplying Statues by Machinery’: Stereoscopic Photographs of Sculptures at the 1862 International Exhibition,” History of Photography 37, no. 4 (2013): 412–20, doi:10.1080/03087298.2013.780750.

  21. 21. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

  22. 22. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

  23. 23. “Photographs of the Sculpture of the Great Exhibition,” Art Journal (November 1862): 68.

  24. 24. “The Artists in Florence,” Art Journal (May 1871): 133.

  25. 25. Rod Bantjes, “Reading Stereoviews: The Aesthetics of Monstrous Space,” History of Photography 39, no. 1 (2015): 40–41, doi:10.1080/03087298.2015.1004259.